Rainford was a native and citizen of Jamaica. He was admitted to the U.S. as lawful permanent resident on March 27, 1988. On April 30, 1991, he was convicted for criminal possession of a weapon. The Immigration and Naturalization Service charged him with deportability as an alien convicted of a firearms offense under section 241(a)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Rainford conceded deportability but was eligible for adjustment of status to permanent resident if he can show “admission.” Rainford was found deportable by the immigration judge on June 17, 1992. IJ held based on Matter of V-, 1 I&N Dec. 293 (BIA 1942) that Rainford was inadmissible because he would become immediately subject to deportation upon entry.
(Rainford had a U.S.C. father. As a son of a U.S. citizen, he is under family first preference for purpose of eligibility for a family based immigrant visa. His priority date was also current.)
Therefore, he was found to be ineligible for AOS.
(1) Whether Rainford would become immediately subject to deportation upon entry due to his criminal conviction.
(2) Whether Rainford is admissible to the U.S., thereby meeting the second condition for AOS eligibility.
(1) No (see reasoning)
(2) Yes. BIA Held that Rainford was admissible to the U.S. and therefore eligible for AOS; remanded case to IJ.
An alien convicted of criminal possession of a weapon is deportable. However, such a conviction does not preclude a finding of admissibility in connection with an application for adjustment of status, and it may not serve as a ground of deportability if the alien’s status is adjusted to that of a lawful permanent resident.
Compared Matter of Rafipour, 16 I&N Dec. 470 (BIA 1978) and used it as a key case.
The BIA ruled in Matter of Rafipour that an alien would no longer be deportable pursuant to section 241(A)(5) of the Act for his earlier conviction, once he was admitted as a lawful permanent resident. Likewise, the Board in the instant case reasoned that Rainford was deportable for a crime for which there is no corresponding ground of exclusion explicitly stated in the Act. Further, the Board reasoned that there was “no indication in the Act or its legislative history that Congress ever intended to bar this class of aliens . . . from becoming lawful permanent residents.” Although the ground of deportability was different from Matter of Rafipour, the Board extended the same reasoning to Rainford’s ground of deportability.